Today’s blog continues the journey of the birth of our second son Trey, who was diagnosed with a very rare disorder called gastroschisis at our second ultrasound. To follow the full story please visit On A Serious Note.
After the first trip to Denver to meet with the high risk pregnancy doctors there were three things that I was having a hard time grasping. One: that upon Trey’s birth he would have to go immediately into surgery and we wouldn’t have a chance to actually hold him. Two: that Jackson, our two year old, wouldn’t be able to see the baby until he was released from the hospital because siblings were not allowed in the NICU. And three: that Trey’s hospital stay could range anywhere from three to twelve weeks.
I remember the lady that does my hair demanding that I come in within two months of my delivery date with both boys so she could touch up my roots. Her point being that all pictures of newborn babies show the mom holding the baby and looking down, with roots in full view. She didn’t want the reputation as the hairdresser whose clients had bad roots. For some reason this continually popped in my head as I realized I wasn’t going to get that picture with Trey, because he was going to be rushed off immediately into a surgery that we could only pray was successful.
The fact that Jackson wasn’t going to be able to see Trey for weeks after he was born, along with the knowledge that there was a risk of complications with the birth and surgery, all be them low, made me very hesitant to even talk about a new brother while I was pregnant. Most families spend this nine month period bracing the oldest for what was about to happen. I spent it bracing myself and shielding Jackson from the difficulty that lay ahead.
Not having friends or family in Denver, the thought of an extended stay there while Trey recovered was quite daunting. There was no possibility that we would be able to afford a hotel room for that long so the hospital had suggested I visit the Ronald McDonald House. Not having any previous experience with Ronald McDonald House Charities, I must admit, this didn’t seem like a very appealing option to me. I feared this was a place of minimum amenities for low income families. The realization of what Ronald McDonald Houses really are was both shocking and one of the most positive outcomes of this entire experience.
I visited the Denver Ronald McDonald House while in town for my second visit with the high risk pregnancy office. Not only was I completely surprised by what I saw, I left knowing that things might just be okay. For a “suggested” donation of $20/per night we would be able to stay in a warm, clean, comfortable place, with an outdoor playground for Jackson, two indoor play areas, computer room, full kitchen with all appliances, free laundry and so much more. We could stay there with our son, our mom’s, whatever we needed. And we would be in a place with people going through similar situations as our own, which was a blessing to us all. Volunteers of the Ronald McDonald House provide meals throughout each week. In a four week stay there were only 2-3 nights that we had to worry about providing dinner on our own. Volunteers were also on hand to provide much needed massages for troubled mothers, donations of tickets to area attractions (including the zoo which was HUGE with a little one), cleaning, and so much more. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, next time you are at McDonalds and you see the change box for the Ronald McDonald House, don’t hesitate to give. This is an amazing organization doing so much good for so many!